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With bars bent on turning every day into Taco Tuesday in this happy-hour-mad city, we now have the return of the $1 taco. Once a staple of the after-work drinking regimen, the uno-buck Mexican delight is becoming popular once again.

And there’s one undisputed king: El Borracho.

Two weeks ago, the mini-chain opened a third taqueria in Ballard, catering to the party-hardy crowd, with a large horseshoe-shaped bar for all the cheapskates and bar hoppers to hover around, loading up on the aforementioned tacos, chased with $4 margaritas.

It’s the same dollar happy-hour menu at all three locations: six taco options from carnitas to al pastor, served on flour tortillas. It’s also the same consistency issues at all locations.

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The pork-and-pineapple taco at its locale in Frelard, for instance, was fatty and juicy one night but over-sauced on another night. A perfectly braised Coca-Cola pork taco was dry and bland on a follow-up visit. On nights when the tacos are succulent, you never want to give up your table. On nights when the kitchen is off, those bottles of house-made hot sauces come in very handy.

Be somewhat skeptical of bars hawking margaritas at such a low price point. Here, “El Cheapo margarita” ($4) is a bit heavy-handed with the sour mix, but it’s sweet and will go down easy all the same. Shell out the extra $4.50 if you want a drink with some agave bite.

El Borracho, obviously, isn’t a great taco house. But when the clock passes 4 p.m., and the tacos drop to a buck, the place is good fun. Folks flock here, unwinding after work or before a night out. And for all its shortcomings, you really can’t complain when the bill is under $10.

El Borracho, 5465 Leary Ave. N.W., offers two happy hours: 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday with $1 tacos and again at 11 p.m.-1 a.m. seven days a week (206-582-1974).

Happy hour is offered weekdays from 4-7 p.m. at the other two locations: El Borracho at Pike Place, 1521 First Ave., and Del Norte, 4332 Leary Way N.W. (

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or On Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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